Kevin Durant has two rings, an MVP award and more accomplishments than one can count. But he’s driven enough to say he still has a lot to learn, and is confident new Nets coach Steve Nash can teach him.
“I’m excited,” Durant said on JJ Redick’s “Old Man and the Three” podcast. “Any time a former player gets a job as a coach in the league I’m excited, because that level of knowledge runs deep, especially experiencing it on the floor.
“So his insight for the game, his communication — how he communicates the game of basketball — is definitely going to help me as a player develop, and it’s going to help the rest of our team. … I always feel like I’m a student of the game. Somebody who’s experienced so much and played in different eras, I’m looking forward to him teaching me some more things.”
Nash was hired by Brooklyn despite never having been an assistant coach. But he has a relationship with — and the respect of — Durant, who has been picking the Hall of Famer’s brain for years.
“Our relationship started from him playing, me admiring him as a player, and then playing against him, competing against him,” said Durant. “And finally getting a chance to work out with Steve seven or eight years ago, I understood how his mind worked for the game, and every time I was in the gym with him I was always like a sponge. So I’m looking forward to this, man.”
Durant was introduced to Nash about eight years ago by Adam Harrington, his longtime shooting coach who was a Thunder assistant and is now on the Nets’ staff. Durant worked out with Nash during offseasons, and their rapport solidified when he joined Golden State and Nash was a Warriors consultant.
“Kevin’s always searching, he’s always curious, inquisitive, developing as a human being,” Nash said.
“He’s always trying to grow, always trying to learn and always asking how he can get better. A big part of that is Kevin’s somebody that’s never afraid to say, ‘Help me with this,’ ‘What do you think about that?’ That’s the type of confidence and security it takes to be able to ask for help or know what they don’t know. He has that, along with incredible drive, work ethic, toughness and historic talent.”
With Big Threes having given way to Dynamic Duos, Durant said Caris LeVert is a fine complement to himself and Kyrie Irving.
“Yeah, for sure,” Durant said. “I think Caris is that perfect guy for us. On any given night he could lead us in scoring or assists or he can control the offense. We can go to him in the post in a matchup. I feel like he has the tools to do everything on the basketball court.”
Nash is considering adding Lakers assistant Phil Handy, according to The Athletic. Handy was a Lakers’ player development coach when Nash played there in 2012-13, and a Cavs assistant when Irving helped win a 2016 title.